Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34024

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/13/2020

RE: Rec Under 16

Doug of Folsom, CA U.S. asks...

Hi folks - on this clip of an international women's game, a player pulls the hair of her opponent, perhaps in retaliation for a hip bump, or perhaps she is upset at being beaten for ball possession, but it sure looks like a deliberate violent offense to me.
Some would say it deserves a yellow but looks like red to me.
It looks like the ref just gave a verbal warning, altho maybe the ref issued a card after the clip ended. Maybe that is what the ref felt the game temperature required at that time.
Your thoughts?
Thanks as always /Doug

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Doug
not a great different than a shirt grab. thus a caution for USB certainly plausible, also this was a friendly, so the expectations are different, I doubt any card was shown . Looks like a apology was given and accepted as well as the referee giving the palm down lets calm things ladies but look at this clip
most definitely red for THIS hair pull!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
Thanks for the video clip and your question.
Violent conduct is a judgement call for a referee based on what she sees and whether it meets the definition as outlined in the law.
Violent conduct is when a player uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball, or against a team-mate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person, regardless of whether contact is made.
Serious Foul Play is a tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality and must be sanctioned with a red card.
In your clip the incident involves a challenge and therefore the question is whether it meets the SFP definition.
From my perspective I do not see it as endangering the safety of an opponent or is it excessive force or brutality in a challenge. The clip shown by Referee Dawson certainly is violent conduct and it merited a red card.
In your clip it was in my opinion a yellow card offence for unsporting behaviour. The game was between USA and England in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. No cards were issued in the game. The incident happened in the 51st minute with the score at 0-0. USA went on to win 2-0.
Now the offending player immediately apologies which is accepted and the referee can be seen speaking to the offending player with a calming gesture.
One of the difficulties in viewing single events on video is that it fails to meet the totality of the game. This same incident in a feisty, unruly game would certainly require sanction whereas a game played in a good spirit the referee may decide to do the least required which could be a having a word which was done here.
My advice to referees is to do tbe least required to manage a game and that context, circumstances etc are important factors in sanctions.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Doug,
I agree with my colleagues that there is certainly not enough here for a red card. A yellow possibly and had this been further up the field with a much clearer promising attack scenario, a caution would have been much more likely.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34024
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.